- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

The grandmaster was in a class by himself — literally and figuratively. Massachusetts GM Alexander Ivanov chewed up the field to win the 32nd annual Eastern Open, the traditional holiday mega-tournament held at the Washington Wyndham Hotel downtown last week. Giving up only a single draw to master Steven Winer, Ivanov won the Open section with a dominating 7- result.

Winer, a master from Massachusetts, earned part of a three-way tie for second at 6-2, with fellow masters Alex Barnett of Maryland and Daniel Ludwig of Florida.

A total of 185 players competed in the five-section tournament. TD Mike Atkins, who supplied the game scores for today’s column, said the turnout improved on 2004’s tournament despite the difficult midweek schedule.

In the Under-2200 section, the District’s Carlos Tovar-Diaz and Robert Walker of Kentucky shared first with scores of 6-1. Yakov Shlapentokh-Rothman of North Carolina was the Under-1900 section champ with a 7-1 result, a half-point better than Virginia’s Patrick Ray.

New York’s William Martin took the Under-1600 section with a 6-1 score, while Georgia’s Henry Moon edged Maryland’s Benjamin Lewis to win the Under-1300 section with a 7-1 finish.

Ivanov, a multiple winner of the Eastern, took no chances and took no prisoners on his way to his latest triumph, clinching first place with a round to spare. He did not rest on his laurels, though, winning his final-round game against master Richard Francisco with a devastating mating attack.

Against White’s modest Larsen’s Opening setup, Ivanov as Black uses strong, simple moves to build up his position. With 10. Nf3 Qe7 11. Bb5 Re8!?, he invites Francisco to win a pawn in return for open lines to White’s uncastled king.

After 12. Bxc6 (on 12. d4, Black can try the intriguing 12…Nxd4!? 13. Bxe8 Nxf3+ 14. gxf3 Qxe8, with play for both sides) bxc6 13. Qxc6 Rb8 14. b4 Rb6 15. Qc2 e4 16. Nd4 f4!, Ivanov goes for the jugular. Now 17. 0-0 is risky in lines like 17…f3 18. g3 Qd7 19. Qc4+ Kh8 20. Rfc1 Ba6, when 21. Qb3 Qh3 leads to mate.

Black shrugs off attacks on his rook to keep the attack alive: 18. Bd4 Qg5! 19. 0-0-0 (Bxb6?! Qg2 20. 0-0-0 cxb6 21. Nc5 bxc5 22. Qa4 Qg6 23. Qxa6 cxb4 24. Qc4+ Kh8 25. axb4 Qf5 and White still has major queen-side headaches) Qd5! 20. f3 (and now taking the rook opens the c-file with disastrous consequences: 20. Bxb6? cxb6 21. Kb2 Rc8 22. Qb1 Bd3 23. Qa1 Rc2+ and wins) Bd3!, and White can’t hold the defense together.

The finale: 21. Qc3 (fxe4 Bxc2 22. exd5 Bxb3 23. Bxb6 axb6 24. Rde1 fxe3 25. Rxe3 Rxe3 26. dxe3 Bxd5 27. h4 Bxg2, and Black’s bishops dominate) Rc6 22. Bc5 (Nc5 Bxc5 23. Bxc5 Rxc5! 24. Qxc5 Qxc5+ 25. bxc5 Rb8 and mate on b1 is unstoppable) Bxc5 23. fxe4 (Nxc5 Rxc5! 24. Qxc5 Qxc5+ 25. bxc5 Rb8 is an echo of the previous note) Bxb4!, when 24. exd5 Bxa3 is mate. Francisco resigned.

Air Force Maj. Zack Kinney is a big friend of this column and a major force in armed services chess. So it’s a bit painful to publish here his last-round loss against Under-1900 section winner Shlapentokh-Rothman.

Still, the game determined the section winners and was one of the most entertaining struggles of the tournament to boot. Kinney as Black blunders away a pawn under pressure (20…h5? 21. Nxh5!, when 21…gxh5 22. Qxh5+ Kg8 23. Re3 f5 24. Rg3+ is crushing) but fights back when White takes his eye off his adversary’s d-pawn.

Things come to a wild head of 43. f3?! (White dreams of mate on h8 but underestimates the power of a pair of queens) d3 44. Re4 d2 45. Rh4 d1=Q+ 46. Kh2. (See diagram.)

Black now can spare his extra queen for a perpetual check: 46…Qxg2+!, when the White king appears not be able to find shelter after 47. Kxg2 Qe2+ 48. Kg3 Qe1+ 49. Kg4 Qg1+ 50. Kf4 (Kh3 Qh1+) Qc1+ 51. Ke4 Qb1+.

Instead, Black spoils things again with 46…Nh7? 47. Qxe6+ Kf8 48. Rxh7 Qxg2+ (too late) 49. Kxg2 Qe2+ 50. Kg3. With the White queen ready to provide help to her mate from e6, Black’s checks finally bounce after 58…Qd8+ 59. Rd7 Qb6+ 60. Kd5 Qa5+ 61. Qc5+, forcing a queen trade.

The endgame is hopeless for Black; Kinney resigned.

In other end-of-2005 tournament notes, veteran GM Sergei Rublevsky is the new Russian national champion, besting a strong field in Moscow that included world champ Vladimir Kramnik and 2700-plus GMs Peter Svidler and Alex Morozevich.

Ukrainian GM Ruslan Ponomariov took the Category 16 Pamplona International in Spain, edging India’s Pentala Harikrishna and Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria with a 5-2 score.

32nd Eastern Open, Washington, D.C., December 2005


1. b3e513. Qxc6Rb8

2. Bb2Nc614. b4Rb6

3. c4Nf615. Qc2e4

4. e3d516. Nd4f4

5. cxd5Nxd517. Nb3Ba6

6. a3Bd618. Bd4Qg5

7. Qc2f519. 0-0-0Qd5

8. Nc3Nxc320. f3Bd3

9. Qxc30-021. Qc3Rc6

10. Nf3Qe722. Bc5Bxc5

11. Bb5Re823. fxe4Bxb4

12. Bxc6bxc6White resigns

32nd Eastern Open, Washington, D.C., December 2005


1. e4Nf632. Re1Qa5

2. e5Nd533. Rf1Rh8

3. d4d634. h5Rh6

4. Nf3Bf535. hxg6Rxg6

5. Bc4e636. Qf4Qb5

6. 0-0Nb637. Rxg6+fxg6

7. Bb3d538. Qxd4Qe2

8. Bg5Be739. Qb4Nf8

9. Bxe7Qxe740. Re1Qxc2

10. Nbd20-041. Qe7+Kg8

11. Re1Nc642. Qf6d4

12. Nf1Na543. f3d3

13. Ng3Bg444. Re4d2

14. h3Nxb345. Rh4d1=Q+

15. axb3Bxf346. Kh2Nh7

16. Qxf3a647. Qxe6+Kf8

17. Qg4Nd748. Rxh7Qxg2+

18. Nh5g649. Kxg2Qe2+

19. Nf4Kh850. Kg3Qe1+

20. h4h551. Kf4Qd2+

21. Nxh5Rg852. Ke4Qe2+

22. Nf4Rg753. Kd5Qd3+

23. Nh3Rh754. Kc5Qb5+

24. Ng5Rh555. Kd4Qb4+

25. Re3Kg756. Qc4Qd2+

26. Rf3Rf857. Kc5Qa5+

27. Re1Qb458. Kd6Qd8+

28. Ree3c559. Rd7Qb6+

29. Rg3Rxg560 Kd5Qa5+

30. Qxg5cxd461. Qc5+Black

31. Re2Qb5resigns

David R. Sands can be reached at 202/636-3178 or by e-mail at dsands@washingtontimes.com.



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